Respect in Your Construction Company

Showing respect and dignity in your construction business is worth the effort

Respect

While researching the topic of respect and dignity at work, I came across many statements like this, “A Dignity and Respect at Work Policy encourages a working environment that is free from Bullying and Harassment.” And, this exact wording of that idea was the very first sentence in one (rather boring) article I read.

Other articles harp on how much a company loses when there is a large turnover of workers. Their premise that people will hang around longer when treated well makes sense.

But it seems the need to respond with dignity and respect in dealing with your employees loses its power when shrouded in the negativity of losing money “if you ain’t nice.”

Respectful for the right reasons

So, I’ll state (for the record) I know there is a huge financial drag on businesses which can’t retain their employees. Further, I’ll note that when others are treated with dignity and respect across the board, lawsuits (and their costs) derived from bullying and harassment don’t see the light of day.

So, if you “don’t harass” someone, does that mean you respect them and allow their dignity to show through? Not at all!

I’ll give you an example. You can force kids to “play together.” But you can’t force kids to “have fun together.”

Being respectful must come from the heart. And in your construction business, showing respect starts with your attitude. From there, it seeps into the culture you build within your construction company.

The real value of showing respect

I dug further. One article I read on the topic makes a great deal of sense. Glenn Llopis, writing for Forbes says, “Employees want leaders that are likable, understand their needs, can authentically motivate people and know how to energize a workplace culture to generate the best results for the organization.”

Seeking employee input, hearing their concerns, giving recognition when an employee does a good job, are all good ways to show respect for them. And it allows them to see you respect them as individuals.

It’s no mystery; the value of your team increases when they know you respect and value them.

The lowest common denominator is – be nice.

Respect isn’t always easy

With that being said, I must note, being nice isn’t always easy. Bad hair days and grumpy spouses aside, sometimes it takes extra effort to show respect to the noodle-head who has made sixteen mistakes already, and it isn’t even noon.

Keep in mind, showing respect doesn’t mean you don’t call it like it is. It means (when called for) you respect said noodle-head by giving a heads up or a word of caution. You’re not in the land of an elementary school where everyone is recognized as a contributor when the only contribution some kids make is trouble.

Finally, showing respect to others (the rest of your employees) may come in the form of firing the one guy who doesn’t pull his weight – respectfully, of course. 

Avoid screaming hissy fits

It is imperative to avoid screaming hissy fits or tawdry put-downs. And, more important than what you leave out of the day is what you put into it. Here are some thoughts and ideas concerning how to develop a company-wide culture of respect and dignity.

  • Tell someone what a great job he or she is doing
  • Show appreciation publicly
  • (Just as importantly) Show appreciation when no one else is around
  • Compliment an employee to their supervisor, not just to them personally
  • Be sure your employees know they can respectfully disagree (and they will be heard)
  • Offer them opportunities for career growth
  • Let an employee know you used his or her idea
  • (Or) Encourage the employee to implement his or her idea
  • Support employees during times of stress
  • Treat employees fairly and equally

And remember – smiles can set the tone for the day. Plus, they are quite contagious.

A few other things to consider

  • Focus on what went well on the project at a closeout meeting. Be sure to point out individuals as well as teams who “brought it” to the project.
  • Provide lunch and updates of progress (no down talk) at last-Friday monthly meetings.
  • Make a big deal of the annual company-wide family get-together events.

 

In conclusion

Show your dignity through being respectful of your staff. And teach them to do the same.

 

We desire to familiarize you with business concepts which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction business owner through our blog posts. Some will be new ways of looking at things, and others will be refreshers.

 

Schulte and Schulte Provides Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735

Subcontractors – What’s Your Story?

Subcontractors tell your story to grow your business

Subcontractors – What’s Your Story?

Subcontractors create

The culture you create within the confines of your construction subcontracting business radiates. That culture becomes the story your construction company is known for. What story is your subcontracting business telling?

Are your crews known for showing up on time prepared to give it their all? Or do they have the reputation for being late and leaving the site frequently to retrieve forgotten tools?

Are your people the ones who will go the extra mile to help out the GC? Or are they the ones who fail to clean their own mess because they “don’t want to be taken advantage of?”

Can you be sure your phones answered by people who either know the answers or know how to get them?

Is all the paperwork your general contractor asks for submitted in a timely manner? Or is it only taken care of when someone in the office or the field gets nagged enough to get it done?

Creating a culture which stresses “customer service” allows you to tell a better story.

The first two questions you need to ask are:

  1. How do the GCs in my area perceive my company?
  2. What do I want it to be known for?

Subcontractors develop

The culture you develop in your construction business has the power to attract the right employees. I’ve heard Tonya express it this way many times – your vibe attracts your tribe.

When your employees and subs know you care about them as human beings, not just a tool you use to get a task done they’re more attuned to supporting your efforts. Giving bonuses and raises whenever possible is only part of the picture. Giving praise and supporting their efforts for personal as well as professional growth helps your team see you as someone who cares.

With that being said, let’s move to ways to help your team understand your stance.

Want your team to lie to you? Teach them that lying to the GC is acceptable. Or would you prefer your employees tell the truth about errors and omissions? Be sure to model that behavior.

Do you want your team to steal from you? Show them that cutting corners is the only way to get ahead. Or, does it make more sense to teach them that your expectation is for excellence and “good enough” is never good enough.

Do you prefer your team members show up on time? Then of course, you must be their example. When you call for a meeting, you must show up before the meeting starts, not a few minutes later.

Subcontractors lead

If you don’t already have the skills of a leader you need to develop them. Here is a great graphic which depicts the difference between a boss and a leader. You can check the graphic to see which skills you need to improve or strengthen.

Want your folks to feel all they do is work hard for a paycheck? Neglect to let them know what it is they really do. Want them to get the vision? Show them the vision.

And the way to frame that is often with the end game in mind. Are they laying brick or helping build a medical facility which will save lives? Do your hands think they’re painting walls or do they believe they’re putting the finishing touches on a space which will provide jobs for the community? Are they laying wire or pipe or rebar which will not be seen when the building is complete, yet will bring integrity and ultimately usability to the shopping district?

The next questions you should ask yourself are:

  1. How do my employees feel about their jobs?
  2. What do I want our team members to feel about their jobs?

Subcontractors improve

When it comes to company culture and telling your story there are likely areas in which you can improve. Because, as you know, if you’re not getting better . . .

The purpose of your business (why your company exists) is where your story begins. How do you fit into the big picture in the construction industry? How well do you pass on your vision?

Look at your mission statement, values, and long and short-term goals to get a handle on your culture. The next step is to observe how your employees reflect the statement, values, and goals. Be sure your mission statement isn’t just a bunch of words, rather that it captures the essence of how your team operates. Know what values are important to you. Devise a way to pass on those values to those in your employ. Be sure everyone is on the same page concerning long and short-term goals.

See to it your team has a clarity of purpose. Work to be sure your employees are engaged, not just getting by. Trust your team and do all in your power to let them know they can trust you. Always be learning. See to it you’re providing opportunities for your team to learn and improve. Finally, make sure your company policies align with your company culture.

The final set of questions to ask and act upon are:

  1. What is right about our company culture?
  2. How can it be improved?

Develop an excellent company culture and tell your story so you’re able to:

 

  • Capture General Contractors’ Attention

 

  • Enhance Recruiting and Retention Efforts

 

  • Improve Your Business

 

Control your story both internally and externally.

 

It is our desire this article (among our growing library of construction-centric informational articles) is helpful in assisting commercial construction contractors build better building businesses. 

Providing Accounting and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs. 866-629-7735

5 Strategies to Retain Your Best Employees – Part 5

Pay your employees well in order to retain them.

Pay your employees well in order to retain them.

This is the final installment of a 5-part series about specific strategies you can use in order to retain your best construction employees. You can find the first installment here, the second here, the third here, and the fourth here.

Pay them well

Dad explained to me, when I was quite young, that the wise person “knows which side his bread is buttered on.”  Dad was referring to his relationship with his employer. He knew, that in order to keep his job he had to perform up to a certain standard or he would be on the job hunt. Now-a-days, the roles have shifted somewhat, and it is the construction business owner who must look at his employees when it comes to determining the matter of buttered bread.

At the very least, keep your pay scale in the ballpark of what your market is paying. And, don’t wait until someone leaves to learn what others in your industry are paying. One simple way to check, is to use the information you can find on the website of the recruitment business known as indeed. Go here, enter the job title in the open section of the first block, hit search, and receive a plethora of information. You can refine the search as you progress in order to gain more and more specific information.

Consider the whole cost

If you can’t afford to pay them well, how are you ever going to afford to replace them? When it comes to the cost of employee turnover, you’ll do well to consider the whole picture. This article from Jobsite takes a look at some tangible as well as intangible costs connected with employees walking off your jobsites.

Retain them – parts 1 through 5

Coming full circle, it is time to admit that pay for your employees matters. Yet, if the only thing you offer is a bigger pay package you’re not likely to retain your best employees long-term. In a Harvard Business Review article, titled What Matters More to Your Workforce than Money  the author states, “One of the most striking results we’ve found is that, across all income levels, the top predictor of workplace satisfaction is not pay: It is the culture and values of the organization, followed closely by the quality of senior leadership and the career opportunities at the company.”

This same author goes on to state, “While pay can help get new talent in the door, our research shows it’s not likely to keep them there without real investments in workplace culture: making a commitment to positive culture and values, improving the quality of senior management, and creating career pathways that elevate workers through a career arc in the organization.”

Your turn

Be always on the lookout for ways you can improve the experience for your best employees. Make it a priority. Make it happen.